Noted Bigot’s “Superman” Story Shelved after Artist Bows out

Here Be Dragons | 06 March 2013 | 14 Comments   

I think Supes would be pleased.

It’s official; Orson Scott Card’s contribution to the Superman legacy has been shelved.  You guys might recall my previous article about this issue, and I stand by what I wrote; I do not think that an admitted bigot, whether bigoted for religious reasons or no, is qualified to write for the comic universe’s greatest symbol of truth, justice, and equality, especially given Card’s history of inserting his politics into his stories.  I was pretty fucking angry when I heard he’d been hired to write this story, regardless of how talented an author he is (or was; his recent history has been less than stellar).

As it turns out, I was far from the only person who was pissed.  Petitions were written, some stores vowed not to sell the book, while others said they would donate all the profits from sales to LGBT charities.  DC remained fairly silent on the issue, and it looked like the issue was going to go ahead…until today.  today was when Chris Sprouse, the artist slated to illustrate the story, walked away.

Sprouse has said that “The media surrounding this story reached the point where it took away from the actual work, and that’s something I wasn’t comfortable with. My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever and I look forward to my next project with them.”

In the wake of this, DC has said that they are looking for another artist, but in the meantime, Card’s story has been indefinitely shelved. The anthology The Adventures of Superman, in which the story was due to appear, will go ahead as planned, but Card’s story will be replaced by one written and drawn by Superman veterans Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee.  In addition, DC has been very gracious in reaction to Sprouse’s decision, stating that “We fully support, understand and respect Chris’s decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment. Chris is a hugely talented artist, and we’re excited to work with him on his next DC Comics project.”

Good on you, DC.  Supes would be proud.  And it’s my personal hope that Orson Scott Card will learn from this, and start to see that his views are bigoted, ugly, and increasingly not tolerated by society as a whole, particularly in the circles he works in.

But I doubt it.


EDIT: I should mention that the project hasn’t officially been “cancelled”, but rather postponed until DC can find another artist.  I feel fairly comfortable calling it “dead”, however, since considering the shitstorm of controversy this whole mess has caused, I don’t see them finding a willing artist anytime soon.  Unless Card adds a lot of naked women to his script and calls up Frank Miller.

  • James

    Fine editorial – the dark blue on a black background with white text makes the links painful to read… just thought you should know.

    • Here Be Dragons

      Thank you for the comment; I’ve changed the colour of the links, and hopefully they’re more readable now!

  • Lisa Ellisor

    I have the misfortune of living in the same town as Mr. Card, where he spews his thinly- veiled hate in the local wingnut rag, week after week. Good on DC for shelving it, he’s not a kind man, and truly not good for a Superman story arc.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    Forcing a man out of his job because you disagree with his views is far more un-American than anything Card is known to have done. If you do not allow those you disagree with free speech, you do not deserve free speech yourself.

    • Here Be Dragons

      I do not believe that anyone should be forced out of a job because of his views. I do believe that he should not be hired for a job if his views will cause him to do the job improperly. Superman, as mentioned in the article, is a symbol of justice and equality. Orson Scott Card is a proud and vocal homophobe who works constantly to deny LGBT people their rights. I still might waver on the topic, except that he’s proven consistently in recent years that he cannot leave his politics out of his works (see for example his horrendous rewrite of “Hamlet” in which everything is blamed on the old king being gay). If Card cannot be trusted to leave his hate-filled politics out of his work, he is not qualified to write for a character who has always stood as a symbol of justice and equality.

      • Zor-El of Argo

        Superman stands as a symbol of DC’s current editorial policies. I find it unlikely his editor would have let a propaganda piece contrary to thier policies go through. Whatever Card writes in his original novels, or when using public domain material, when writing licensed characters he has to work within the confines of the copyright-holders guidelines.
        You call the man a homophobe. That suggests that you think he is afraid of LGBT people. The movement to prevent his Superman story from being read by anyone appears to show that is the LGBT community who is afraid to have opinions other than own expounded. Why is that? Are you insecure about the validity of your own position?
        To be clear, I oppose laws prohibiting gay marriage. I voted against a ballet proposal in my state to prohibit gay marriage and will again if it comes up. I am not afraid to hear or read conflicting views. Why are you?

        • Here Be Dragons

          I feel obliged to point out that if I was afraid to hear or read conflicting views, I would be deleting your comments. I have no problem with conflicting views. I do have a problem with the spread of misinformation and hatred, which is what Card stands for. He has written essays about how gay people “become” gay due to sexual abuse, that “legitimizing” homosexual relationships will lead to the downfall of society, and that children raised in homosexual households will inevitably grow up damaged. These are all blatantly and provably false, but he refuses to hear otherwise and continues to spread it as truth. There is a difference between a conflicting opinion and a LIE. And perhaps the LGBT community is afraid of these lies because such lies have led to them being discriminated against, vilified, and yes, KILLED. Maybe that’s what they’re “insecure” about.

          In addition, I must point out that a free market and free speech goes both ways. Orson Scott Card is free to have his beliefs, he is even free to write about and publish them. HOWEVER, by the same token, the readers are free to say, “We disagree with you and will not purchase your books,” the stores are free to say, “We disagree with you and will not sell your work,” the artist is free to say, “I will not work with this man,” and the company is free to say, “We are uncomfortable with all of this and will not be publishing it.” That is what’s called a free market, and it is precisely what has happened here. Orson Scott Card is free to have his beliefs, but he has to accept that said beliefs have consequences. The fact that people find him a repulsive human being and don’t want to work with him or read his material just might be such a consequence.

  • Ernesto Ivan Ramirez

    Well… I suppose freedom of speech and though is only acceptable if its favorable to one views… others who think different could only expect to lose their jobs…

    Cursiously… I though gay people fought against that kind of reprisals a few years ago, now that is more acceptable they find it ok to make the same moves against those who don’t agree with their worldview.

    Personally I couldn’t care less, yet the man is a good writer and I get angry when writers are silenced for something different than the topic of the story.

    • Here Be Dragons

      There is freedom of speech, in which you say what you believe, and then there is actively working to deny other people their rights. Orson Scott Card has campaigned constantly to deny gay people the right to marry AND to keep the anti-sodomy laws on the books. What if he was a holocaust denier, or a blatant racist who campaigned for race segregation in schools and to repeal the laws allowing blacks and whites to marry?

      And I will repeat what I said before; I do not think he should be fired because his beliefs. I think he should never have been hired in the first place because his beliefs mean he will not do his job properly. An admitted and vocal bigot is not qualified to write for a character who is the symbol of truth, justice, and equality, especially when Card has a rampant track record of letting his politics bleed into his work.

    • Michael J Smith

      People don’t fully understand Freedom of Speech, The First Amendment does NOT protect against a private company curtailing your right to speak. (Especially using one of their private properties as your mouthpiece.)

      The First Amendment only protects you from the United States government directly curtailing your rights to free speech. And in those cases only so long as your free speech doesn’t cause harm to others (Such as yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater.)

  • Guest

    You had me until the last sentence, which is shamelessly sexist. When comics stop being misogynistic, I’ll disavow a Mormon writing a Superman comic.

    • Here be Dragons

      …dude, it’s called

    • Here Be Dragons

      Dude, it’s called sarcasm. I was making a play on how misogynist Frank Miller’s comics have become, and the fact that he seems to take any excuse to draw naked women.

      • Guest

        Sorry, I didn’t pick up on that. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well into print.